Dateline: Somewhere in the vast American Heartland – Xmas ’17
It’s cold in Omaha (which it should be at this time of year), so we are in the season when one wants to curl up in front of a fire and remember old times, old friends, and family: just shut out the clamor and aggravation of everyday and get back to “real” life. Thinking back, it’s been a pretty busy year for our family, but not a bad one….
The Warrens (Kate, Ty, Xander, and Mira) keep frantically busy in Leesburg, VA. Ty keeps Comcast working and is an active gamer, engaging in charity marathons a few times a year. Kate is up to her ears in just keeping the household functioning, but also is in charge of concessions for the high school choral group (which is a bigger job than it sounds). As the kids are both in high school now, she has retired from being in charge of “Faculty/Staff Appreciation” at the middle school, however, which provides some relief. Xander is a Senior in high school; suffering from “senioritis” as a Senior (rather than as an underclassman). Mira is a Freshman, so life is full of school and all of the other stuff of teenagers, including being in the school choral program and active in school theatricals. She was just in the cast of All Shook Up, a “jukebox” musical featuring Elvis Presley songs, and based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Maggi keeps herself quite busy with work at Hyatt, although she has cut back a lot on her Etsy business due to spending a lot of time with a guy named Brian, who seems to be developing into a fairly serious friend. He joined her in throwing her annual Halloween party this year, helping turn the “dungeon” part of her basement into “Frankenstein’s laboratory” (quite impressive) and becoming “the Monster” to M’s “Bride of Frankenstein.” She assures us that this is to be taken as nothing more than costumes appropriate to the occasion. Apparently, the party was quite a success, although M’s back has started to act up again, recently, which is a bit concerning. She had a “great adventure” with her mother last May, see below.
Bonnie, having retired from editing and publishing the Dogwood Newsletter, promptly took over those responsibilities for the Omaha chapter of the New Neighbors League, so every month she scurries about tracking down the necessary info and playing with various “clip” art to decorate the newsletter pages. She continues to be active with her book club, Giving Circle, knitting group, 𝛢𝛯𝛥 alumni group, and American Sewing Guild, as well as meetings with the NNL Board, and other activities.
She and Maggi had a truly great adventure last May when they went to England! They got off to a bit of a rocky start when airplane problems led to an almost 24-hour arrival delay, but the rest of the trip was fine, just busy. They visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and the nearby Sherlock Holmes Bar (in a hotel on Baker St.); spent a day at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Harrod’s, Selfridge’s, the London Eye (M actually got B to ride it!), The Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland St. near the West End theatre district (The Sherlock Holmes stuff was [partially] in honor of R who stayed home to mind cats and keep out of the way, but Maggi is a fan, too.), Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station, the British Museum, Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), Stonehenge (of course), the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Bocastle, Cornwall (which B had visited with her folks at a completely different location in 1963), Coventry Cathedral, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Alnwick Castle, and knitting stores all over Great Britain (including a very brief visit just across the border into Scotland). They got home exhausted and with suitcases full of “treasures.”
Richard had a much “quieter” year, but keeps busy being an active member of the Omaha Sherlockian Society, reading a good deal, and working on his blog, “Dr. B’s Notes,” which can be found on his web site (richardsbeam.net). It now has 100+ entries and grows every couple of weeks, or so. He also goes to Aquacise class a couple of times a week (B attends when she’s not otherwise busy) and is generally enjoying a not too active retirement, although he seems to keep himself reasonably busy, so he feels quite happily occupied most of the time. When his trusty old (2002) Forester seemed to be getting tired very late last year, he replaced it with a new 2017 one (dark red/maroon), as having an all-wheel drive vehicle seemed wise, given that Omaha gets snow and ice, just like the NC mountains do (and it’s really not as flat here as some people think). It’s the fanciest car R has ever had with “bells and whistles” he still hasn’t fully figured out, but he is very fond of it, frequently taking it shopping with B (and other trips to the bookstore, library, museums, zoo, gardens, etc.)
Together, B and R have had a fairly busy year with visits from B’s brother, David, last Xmas; her sister, Shirley, and niece, Leslie, who came to attend the FEI World Cup Jumping and World Cup Dressage Finals in Omaha in the spring; and B’s good friend (and former colleague at Western’s Honors College), Emily, when she attended an advising institute in Lincoln during late June. Visits are always fun and a chance to show off some of the attractions of our new home. Those, of course, include the Henry Doorley Zoo, the Durham Museum, the Joslyn Art Museum, and the Lauritzen Gardens, which we get to with some regularity even without the excuse of having visitors. We get to the theatre every so often, as well, having gone to see the touring company of Something Rotten! and local productions of The Music Man and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We made a brief trip back to North Carolina in February and stayed at the Village Hotel on the Biltmore Estate (we’d never done that before!) to get a chance to really play “tourist,” which was quite a different experience for us in that area. We also continue to enjoy our monthly “Couples Dinner Out” group which has taken us to many area restaurants we otherwise might never have known about.
All in all, it’s been a fairly busy and happy year for us. We hope that it’s been a good year for you and yours and that the next one will be, as well.
Richard & Bonnie